Huntingdon woman remembers intergration days

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Jimmie Sue Staten, 67, of Huntingdon remembers living in Nashville back in the 60’s  with her father and mother for a time and attending East Junior High School there.

The year was 1966 and intergration had just begun. She was in the seventh grade at the time.

“I can remember being so scared,” she said. “I had never experienced that situation before back in Huntingdon.”

But everything went well and she made a number of friends there. One of her classmates who went on to become famous was Oprah Winfrey.

She returned to Carroll County and graduated from Huntingdon High School in 1971. She attended Bethel College and graduated in ’78 with a degree in physical education-business.

She was born Jan. 4, 1954  to Susie Morgan Staten and James Staten. She has one sister, Pansy Priscilla Staten of St. Louis, who was in the last graduating class of 1966 from Webb School.She has two half sisters, Barbara Ann Williams of Clarksburg and Mildred Holder of Huntingdon.

Voting has always been near and dear to her heart. Her first recollection of the voting process was when her grandfather, R.B. Morgan of Huntingdon, took her into the voting booth with him.

“He always worked the polls,” she said. “My first time to vote was at the age of 18 when I attended Bethel College as a freshmman.”

She has worked at a number of places over the years, She finished her professional career with a 20-year stint with the State of Tennessee as a Child Support Specialist, working in both Paris and Huntingdon.

She retired in 2016 at the age of 62 to look after her mother who died in Aug. 2020. She now helps out at Bill’s Flowers on a part time basis.

She was a substitute teacher at Clarksburg once. She was employed at Northwest Tennessee Economic Council. In ’80-81 she moved to Nashville where she managed a furniture store. She served as a sales rep for the Leg panty hose company. She was employed by Carroll County Developmental Center at one time  and was a day treatment specialist for Carroll Academy.

 She is an active Bethel University alumni member and is working with a group to reorganize the Alpha Phi Sigma Sorority.

She is chairman of the Carroll County Democratic Executive Committee and president of the Carroll County Democratic Women and is past president of the Tennessee Federation of Democratic Women.

She is a past deacon in the Second Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Huntingdon and is a member of the Carroll County Foster Care Review Board.

In 2017 she was the recipient of Bethel University’s Distinguished Service Award.

The award is presented to individuals who have made a significant mark, either through their dedication to service to Bethel, dedication to their area of expertise or impact on the community.

“Jimmie Sue is the embodiment of service in all these aspects,” according to the selection committee.

In remembering the past, she recalled that blacks had to sit upstairs in movie theaters. A Head Start teacher that she is acquainted with took students upstairs at Court Theatre as a lesson in history and there they found Jimmie Sue’s name inscribed on the woodwork. He called her because she was the only Jimmie Sue he knew.

“Sure enough it was mine that I had done and I went upstairs just to see it.” she said. “I never got to sit downstairs until after the 60’s.”

She said she was truly disappointed that Black History Programs had to be cancelled at Bethel and elsewhere this year due to COVID-19.

She says she thinks it’s important to have a Black History Month. “Learning about black history is important,” she said. “Every day a black person should look at historical facts and see what a black person has accomplished or contributed to the American way of life. Every day I try to learn something new about Black History.”

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